Cheap earthquake-proof walls
: "An innovative house design just passed the most rigorous possible test for standing up in earthquakes. The 2-story test unit, built using inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials, has no frame and uses no wood. On a “shake table” in a Cincinnati lab on Wednesday, the structure stayed intact through the strongest earthquake-like shaking in three dimensions. ..
“Wednesday’s test showed that a home built from these materials would have survived the most severe earthquake ever recorded,” said Rachel Jagoda, the FAS Housing Technology Project Manager, who supervised it. “This test demonstrates that homes can meet the most rigorous seismic standards without increasing cost. In fact the structure is less expensive to build than standard 2’x4’ framed construction and much more energy efficient.”
The construction system uses panels for the walls, floor and ceiling. Each panel is in effect a sandwich of expanded polystyrene material similar to Styrofoam in coffee cups. It is cladded on both sides with cement board, a product now used in rooms where moisture may be a problem. No wood is required to make these structures rigid.
FAS will use the technology to build an elegant home in Houston this summer, demonstrating that it is compatible with the highest standards of U.S. architecture. The system could have wide application as low-cost housing that is safe in areas prone to severe earthquakes such as Afghanistan and Turkey. “"
Update: WorldChanging carries a more complete and well-linked summary. 9:06:56 AM